Research and Teaching Assistant: Colette Ramuz

Colette is a Research and Teaching Assistant on the ‘Provincialism: Literature and the Cultural Politics of Middleness in Nineteenth-Century Britain’ project. She is a visiting tutor and doctoral researcher at the Department of English, Royal Holloway, University of London. She has recently contributed a chapter to a new text, ‘Dickens and Women Re-Observed’ and an article for Dickens Studies Annual: Essays on Victorian Fiction, both to be published March 2020. She is due to complete her doctoral thesis on ‘Oral Dickens: the Semiotics and Poetics of the Dickensian Mouth’ in 2021. Colette is helping to write and co-ordinate teaching materials and blog posts.

Anna Lawrence: Writer in Residence

Anna Lawrence grew up in Halesowen on the outskirts of the Black Country, a few feet from where her ancestors forged nails in their back yard. She studied English at the University of Oxford and Children’s Literature at the University of Warwick. Before becoming a lecturer in creative writing at Birmingham City University, Anna was, among other things, a trainee prison governor, and this fuelled her interest in how places shape the experience of people living there. She explored the interaction of the magical and the mundane in her novel Ruby’s Spoon (Chatto & Windus, 2010), set in a fictional Black Country town where witches and mermaids may (or may not) reside, and her poetry investigates similar territory.

Research Assistant: Tim Moore

Tim Moore is Research Administration Assistant on the ‘Provincialism: Literature and the Cultural Politics of Middleness in Nineteenth-Century Britain’ project. He is a visiting tutor and doctoral researcher at the Department of English, Royal Holloway, University of London. He is due to finish his doctoral thesis on representations of adolescence in nineteenth-century literature in 2021, and is helping co-ordinate project events, seminars, and blog posts.

Project Art and Design: Paul Smith

Paul Smith has extensive experience of delivering high quality map design and art work for environmental charities, local voluntary organisations, and education. Paul will be collaborating on the production of our Unofficial George Eliot Country map in addition to supporting art and design work across our public engagement material.

Paul is also a painter and his works explore place, memory, and the complex nature of post-industrial leisure spaces. You can visit his art portfolio here and see how that body of work enriches our research on this project as we explore colour, landscape, and the problematics of realism. A selection of recent paintings is below.

Project Partner: Writing West Midlands

We are delighted to be working in partnership with Writing West Midlands. From its base in Digbeth, in Birmingham’s creative quarter, this agency is doing outstanding work developing and supporting writers of diverse levels of experience across the region.

The project writer in residence, Anna Lawrence Pietroni, and the PI will be co-designing and leading a short course with WWM at the Birmingham Midlands Institute in autumn 2019. The course draws on project research on George Eliot’s work to develop new writing about place and belonging in the Midlands now. You can register for a place on the course here.

How can our writing communicate a sense of home and belonging or bring to life a place that readers have never seen? This short course will offer writers based in the Midlands the opportunity to craft their skills in evoking settings – whether imagined, remembered, or the everyday. The course draws on the radical example of the nineteenth-century writer, George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans), born two hundred years ago in North Warwickshire, to explore what it means to write in or about the Midlands now. Works by course participants may be featured as part of the George Eliot bicentenary celebrations in 2019, with follow-on opportunities for publication. This course is designed for emerging writers who are looking to develop their work further.

Project Partner: The George Eliot Fellowship

The George Eliot Fellowship, a charity based in Eliot’s home town of Nuneaton, is run by tireless volunteers who work to promote Eliot’s work and preserve her legacy. You can find out about all the activities the GEF are undertaking for Eliot’s bicentenary on the charity’s website and Eliot bicentenary planner here. The project team will be working with the GEF to commemorate Eliot’s writing of provincial life through workshops for teachers and a designed a co-produced learning pack on Eliot for Key Stage 3 in the autumn of 2019.

Ruth Livesey, Principal Investigator

Ruth is Principal Investigator of the AHRC Leadership Fellowship, ‘Provincialism: Literature and the Cultural Politics of Middleness in Nineteenth-Century Britain’. She is Professor of Nineteenth-Century Literature and Thought in the Department of English, Royal Holloway, University of London. Her work adapting and co-writing the Great Middlemarch Mystery with Josephine Burton forms part of the larger AHRC funded engagement project ‘Finding Middlemarch in Coventry 2021′.